Below are the official 2017 Hockomock League Girls Basketball All Stars, selected by the coaches in the league.
Hockomock League MVP
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Hockomock League All Stars
Sarah Deyo, Attleboro
Julia Strachan, Attleboro
Hannah Jerrier, Canton
Ashley Sampson, Foxboro
Lily Sykes, Foxboro
Ali Brigham, Franklin
Shannon O’Connor, King Philip
Meg Hill, Mansfield
Jen Peel, Mansfield
Kate Irwin, Milford
Ashley Ahern, North Attleboro
Caroline Collard, North Attleboro
Kayla Raymond, Oliver Ames
Emma Eberhardt, Sharon
Val Whalen, Stoughton
Lily Patneaude, Taunton
Mish Logie, Attleboro
Emma Murphy, Canton
Grace Tamulionis, Foxboro
Carli Koffinke, Franklin
Julia Leroux, King Philip
Ann Maher, Mansfield
Nicole Dahlgren, Milford
Samantha Taggart, North Attleboro
Niyera Mitchell, Oliver Ames
Shira Stoller, Sharon
Lili Njeim, Stoughton
Mackenzie Handrahan, Taunton
Today’s games are listed below.
#1 Franklin, 59 vs. #9 Acton-Boxboro, 54 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
#9 Milford, 24 @ #1 Nashoba, 48 – Final
#8 Attleboro, 31 @ #1 Mansfield, 33 – Final – Click here for a recap from this game.
#1 Foxboro, 45 vs. #16 Scituate, 37 – Final – Lily Sykes led the way for Foxboro with 20 points and Ashley Sampson added 16 for the Warriors. Foxboro will face No. 8 Hingham in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal on Saturday, 3/4 at 2 p.m.
#4 North Attleboro, 44 vs. #13 Madison Park, 17 – Final – Caroline Collard scored 12 points to lead the Rocketeers. North will face No. 5 Duxbury on Saturday, 3/4 at 6 p.m. in the Div. 2 South quarterfinal.
#9 Oliver Ames, 38 @ #8 Hingham, 45 – Final – Oliver Ames held a lead into the fourth quarter but Hingham was able to complete the comeback. Hannah Carroll had a career-high 15 points while Kayla Raymond added 12 points and Katie Flynn had 13 rebounds.
Six girls’ basketball teams will begin their quests for a state championship when the state tournament begins this week. League champions Mansfield (Div. 1 South) and Foxboro (Div. 2 South) both earned the top seed in their respective brackets, but neither will have an easy road with league rivals like Attleboro, Oliver Ames, and North Attleboro posing major threats to bringing home a trophy. Milford will also represent the league as the lone Hock team in Div. 2 Central.
As usual, Div. 1 South is a loaded bracket with some of the top programs in the state, including defending state champion Bishop Feehan and perennial powers Braintree and Newton North. Mansfield (18-2) earned the top seed in a coin flip with the Shamrocks, who beat the Hornets in an exclusion game during the regular season. More important than the seed, Mansfield will now avoid the Shamrocks, the Wamps, and the Tigers until the South final.
Led by senior guard Jen Peel and junior center Meg Hill, the Hornets like to slow the pace down and focus on strong defense, which held teams to a league-best 38.0 points per game. Mansfield is young this season, but deep and versatile and head coach Mike Redding’s squad should match up well against the teams on its side of the bracket, including potential semifinal opponents Wellesley or Marshfield (which Mansfield beat 52-47 in December).
In order for the Hornets to get to the semifinals, they may have to go through Kelley-Rex rival Attleboro (15-7), which claimed the No. 8 seed and will host Brockton (Attleboro beat the Boxers 63-55 in December). The Bombardiers have scuffled down the stretch, losing seven of its final 14 games of the regular season, but closed it out by putting 94 points up on Durfee in the season finale.
With seniors Sarah Deyo and Julia Strachan, Attleboro has a potent inside-out combo and has been one of the top offensive teams in the league this year, averaging a league-best 61.4 points per game. The issue for the Bombardiers will be trying to slow down Jen Peel and Mansfield in the quarterfinal, if they can get past a dangerous Brockton team in Tuesday’s playoff opener. Attleboro struggled in two losses to Mansfield in the regular season, but will be hoping third time is the charm to set up a potential rematch with Wellesley, which knocked the Bombardiers out of last year’s tournament.
Foxboro (18-2) has been on fire to close out the season, winning 12 in a row entering the playoffs, including a 20-point win over North Attleboro to claim the league title and an impressive overtime win over Lincoln-Sudbury in the end-of-season tournament. The Warriors will be led by league MVP Ashley Sampson, who scored 31 in that win over L-S and nailed a three-pointer that forced OT, but a strong supporting cast includes Lily Sykes and Grace Tamulionis. The scary part is that all three are juniors and will be back next winter as well.
The Warriors will not have an easy path in Div. 2 South, which is another loaded bracket, and will have to face one of the two finalists from 2016, either Hingham or Oliver Ames, in the quarterfinal and could potentially face the Rocketeers for a third time in the semifinal. Westwood, Nauset, and Falmouth, which knocked Foxboro out of the tournament last year, could wait in the sectional final.
Oliver Ames (13-7), the defending Div. 2 South champ, has had an up and down first season in the Kelley-Rex but managed to claim second in the division and is a sleeper to retain its South title. The Tigers will have a very difficult road to try and repeat with a trip to last year’s South finalist Hingham waiting in the first round and a potential meeting with Foxboro looming in the quarterfinal (the Warriors won the league meeting between the teams 51-35).
Kayla Raymond will be the focus of all of OA’s opponents, but trying to slow down the junior forward is easier said than done. If the Tigers can get support for Raymond from senior Niyera Mitchell and find consistent outside shooting, then OA will be a tough matchup. Losing sophomore guard Sadie Homer during the season and senior Francesca Calabraro prior to it has made things tougher but no one will take head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook’s team lightly.
North Attleboro (16-6) is another sleeper in Div. 2 South. Last year, the Rocketeers were knocked out in the first round by OA on a last second Raymond basket and could have made a similar run to the Tigers if they had made it through. This year, North comes in with six losses, but only one to a team in Div. 2 and that was the league final against Foxboro. Despite missing senior guard Ashley Ahern to injury, North earned an impressive come from behind win against Attleboro in the final week and has the potential to make a deep run this year.
The Rocketeers are loaded with experienced seniors, including forward Caroline Collard and guards Samantha Taggart and Emily Schromm, who have shown the ability to win close games against good teams this season. North beat Foxboro in the first meeting, beat Oliver Ames by one, and has also beaten potential tourney opponents Hingham and Westwood this year. North faces Madison Park to start and likely will face Duxbury in the quarterfinal to try and get a rubber match with Foxboro in the semifinal.
Milford (10-10) qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2012 and has shown immense progress in head coach T.J. Dolliver’s second season in charge. But, the Hawks have also struggled down the stretch, albeit against a tough stretch of league opponents including North Attleboro and Foxboro twice, OA, and Attleboro. The Hawks will be in Div. 2 Central and will likely face Marlboro in the playoff opener, which is a team similar to the Hawks that shoots a lot of threes and does not have a true post presence.
The Hawks will be counting on a big game from junior guard Kate Irwin, who has been among the league’s top scorers this season, but Milford has a lot of versatile players that can cause teams problems on the perimeter and in the paint, including senior Nicole Dahlgren. If the Hawks do get through the first round, then they will travel to No. 3 seed Groton-Dunstable and could face a couple of Eastern Mass. transplants in Hopkinton and Medfield.
Today’s games are listed below.
Attleboro, 86 @ Durfee, 80 – Final – Attleboro erased a 10-point deficit to begin the final quarter, rattling a 16-2 run over the final three minutes of the game to earn a season sweep of the Hilltoppers. Trailing 78-70, Bombardier senior Jake Dunkley (28 points) drained a three and then junior Nate Douglas poured in nine straight points of his own. With Attleboro up 84-80 with 17 seconds to go, Lucas Boucicaut hit a pair of free throws to ice the game. Douglas finished with 20 points while freshman Qualeem Charles added 14 points and Elvin Sam chipped in with 10 points.
King Philip, 79 vs. Greater New Bedford, 67 – Final (OT)
Mansfield, 80 vs. Weymouth, 35 – Final – Mansfield set the tone early, jumping out to a 21-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. Phil Vigeant led the way with 13 points and five rebounds while Sam Goldberg added 11 points and six rebounds, Christian Weber had 10 points and six assists and Evan Christo added 10 points and three boards.
North Attleboro, 68 vs. Bishop Feehan, 51 – Final – North Attleboro senior Brent Doherty tied a career-high with 28 points as the Rocketeers picked up their seventh straight win. Big Red scored 24 points in the first quarter, building a double-digit lead then and never looking back. Doherty added a half court buzzer beater at the halftime buzzer to give North a 39-27 lead at the break. Senior Jonny Friberg added 16 points and 12 rebounds while classmate Kyle McCarthy chipped in with 11 points.
Attleboro, 94 vs. Durfee, 58 – Final
Mansfield, 54 vs. Abington, 59 – Final – Mansfield junior Meg Hill scored a team-high 21 points, added 10 rebounds and had four blocks and was named to the Roundball Classic all-tournament team. Ann Maher added 14 points for the Hornets and was also named to the all-tournament team.
North Attleboro, 42 vs. Bishop Feehan, 74 – Final
Oliver Ames, 51 @ Norwell, 34 – Final – Norwell cut a double-digit deficit down to six heading into the final quarter but the Tigers held the Clippers to just four points in the final frame. Kayla Raymond led OA with 19 points and 10 Rebounds while Abby Reardon finished with 13 points and five assists.
Attleboro, 3 vs. Dighton-Rehoboth/Seekonk, 3 – Final
Foxboro, 5 @ Blue Hills, 2 – Final
Franklin, 3 vs. Marshfield, 4 – Final
King Philip, 1 vs. Medway, 3 – Final
Mansfield, 3 @ Winthrop, 2 – Final
Stoughton, 3 vs. Norton, 1 – Final – Luke Bainton, Sean Doherty and Brendan Campbell each found the back of the net to help the Black Knights end the season with a win.
Franklin, 0 @ Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 2 – Final
King Philip, 0 @ Medfield, 3 – Final
Stoughton, 0 @ Ursuline Academy, 6 – Final
Today’s games are listed below.
Franklin, 73 @ Attleboro, 65 – Final – Franklin built a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter and held off the Bombardiers to earn the win. Attleboro cut the deficit to five on two separate occasions, including with just under a minute to play but the Panthers finished the game strong. Connor Peterson had 16 points while Josh Macchi and Paul Mahon each chipped in with 14 points for the Panthers.
Foxboro, 51 @ Canton, 44 – Final – It was a close contest throughout between the two Davenport rivals, with Canton seizing a 14-10 lead after one and Foxboro 26-23 at half and 34-33 heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs cut the deficit to one with less than a minute to play but Foxboro senior Andrew Block drained a three to put the Warriors ahead for good. Block scored eight of his 11 points in the final quarter while Joe Morrison scored 13 points, Mark Clagg had nine points and both Brandon Borde and Jamaine Few each had eight points. Canton sophomore Devin Foster had 13 points and junior Tony Harris added 10 points.
Mansfield, 56 @ King Philip, 53 – Final – Mansfield senior Sam Goldberg (six reobunds) scored 17 of his game-high 29 points in the second half, helping offset a poor shooting night by the Hornets to clinch at least a share of the Kelley-Rex title. Mansfield shot just 3-23 from three point range with only Max Boen (11 points) connecting from deep. Goldberg scored 11 points in the third quarter to give Mansfield a 43-36 lead heading into the fourth. The senior scored six of the team’s 13 points in the final quarter. Evan Christo added 11 rebounds for the Hornets.
Oliver Ames, 73 @ Taunton, 61 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
Sharon, 81 @ Stoughton, 72 – Final – Sharon junior Malik Lorquet had a monster night for the Eagles, tying a career-high with 17 points while hauling in 13 rebounds and adding four steals and three blocks. Senior Jimmy Fitzhenry had a team-high 18 points while classmate Danny Emerman finished with 12 points. Stoughton junior Cam Andrews scored a game-high 24 points.
Attleboro, 52 @ Franklin, 59 – Final (OT) – Franklin rallied late in the game to force overtime and outscored Attleboro 16-9 in the extra period. Carli Koffinke buried a pair of threes (her only two of the game) and Bea Bondhus scored five points in OT to lead the Panthers, after the duo combined for only one point in regulation. Freshman Ali Brigham was the game’s top scorer, leading the Panthers with 21 points, and classmate Megan O’Connell added nine points in the win. Julia Strachan led the Bombardiers with 18 points and Sarah Deyo had nine.
Canton, 28 @ Foxboro, 69 – Final – After scoring 31 on Monday night, Ashley Sampson scored a team-high 17 on Tuesday to ensure that Foxboro will go into the final league game in at least a tie for first place in the division. Kristen Bortolotti scored 16 points and Riley Collins had 11 for the Warriors.
King Philip, 33 @ Mansfield, 52 – Final – Junior Ann Maher paced the Hornets with a game-high 14 points. Sophomore Emily Vigeant chipped in with six points and Jen Peel added 12 assists for Mansfield, which had 11 players score in the game. Julia Leroux and Christina Hathaway each scored seven points apiece for the Warriors.
Milford, 55 @ Hopedale, 37 – Final – With the victory, Milford booked a place in the state tournament for the first time since 2012.
Taunton, 20 @ Oliver Ames, 54 – Final – Oliver Ames had another impressive defensive effort while junior Kayla Raymond scored a game-high 11 points. Niyera Mitchell and Hannah Carroll each had nine points for OA.
Stoughton, 59 @ Sharon, 45 – Final – Stoughton was led by a pair of freshmen against the Eagles. Aliyah Wright scored a team-high 17 points, while Shyanne Trinh added 15 points for the Black Knights.
Stoughton, 5 vs. Bellingham, 2 – Final – Stoughton senior Jon Lessa netted a hat trick to pace the Black Knights past Bellingham. Brendan Campbell and Josh Hough also found the back of the net for the Knights.
Mansfield/Oliver Ames, 4 @ Franklin, 2 – Final – Cat Luciano scored a hat trick for the Warriors and Madison Haughey scored the fourth.
Today’s games are listed below. We will update this post with any changes based on the information we receive.
Attleboro, 67 @ Oliver Ames, 61 – Final – Oliver Ames made a push in the second half with 24 points in the third quarter, and took a 53-46 lead, but the Bombardiers battled back to get the win an earn a postseason berth. Nate Douglas scored a career-high 16 points while Jake Dunkley also added 16 points for the Bombardiers. Lucas Boucicaut added 13 points in the win. Oliver Ames senior Nick Welch had a game-high 20 points while Jack Spillane and Carter Evin each had 13 points and Dylan Mahoney added 11 points.
Milford, 48 @ Foxboro, 55 – Final – Milford took an 11-10 lead after the first quarter but it Foxboro seized control in the second quarter and never looked back. The Warriors took a 29-25 lead by halftime but then relied on a late surge in the third quarter to create separation. Andrew Block dropped a career-high 20 points, including two threes late in the third. Mark Clagg also hit a three in the third to help the Warriors get the separation. Joe Morrison added 12 points and Jamaine Few chipped in with 11 points. Milford’s Anthony Arcudi had a team-high 17 points while Zack Tamagni and Kayden Kelley each had 10 points.
Mansfield, 60 @ Franklin, 43 – Final – Click here for a recap of the game.
King Philip, 63 @ Taunton, 64 – Final – Taunton freshman Dante Law hit a three pointer at the buzzer to lift the Tigers over the Warriors. Law (18 points) took a pass from sophomore Luis Vendrell (13 points), who drove the lane before kicking it out to Law. Vendrell had the tying bucket for the Tigers, converting an outlet pass from Tommy MacLean (12 points) to knot the game with 12 seconds to play. KP’s Seth Sullivan scored a pair of free throws to put the Warriors ahead but Law’s buzzer beater.
North Attleboro, 66 @ Stoughton, 56 – Final – North Attleboro had its two leading scorers come alive in the final quarter. Brent Doherty (six rebounds) scored 11 of his 21 points and Jonny Friberg (10 rebounds) netted eight of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Rocketeers qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2011. North Attleboro took a 43-42 lead into the final quarter but outscored the Black Knights 23-14 in the frame. Senior Kyle McCarthy (10 rebounds) helped carry Big Red in the middle quarters, totaling 10 of his 12 points between the second and third quarters. Stoughton’s Cam Gomes had a team-high 17 points while Matt Valle added 14 points and Ryan Sullivan finished with 10 points.
Oliver Ames, 55 @ Attleboro, 50 – Final – Oliver Ames junior Kayla Raymond scored 20 of her career-high 31 points in the second half to lead the Tigers to a season sweep of the Bombardiers. Oliver Ames held a 25-19 advantage at half but Attleboro took a slim lead early in the fourth quarter. But Oliver Ames was able to battle back to earn the win. Raymond also had 10 rebounds while Hannah Carroll added 12 points and Niyera Mitchell registered 12 rebounds. “It was a great defensive effort,” said OA head coach Laney Clement-Holbrook.
Foxboro, 54 @ Milford, 33 – Final – Ashley Sampson led the way for the Warriors with 19 points and Lily Sykes added 12 for Foxboro, which remained in a first place tie with North Attleboro.
Franklin, 37 @ Mansfield, 59 – Final – The Hornets sealed the outright Kelley-Rex division title with the victory. It is the third league title in program history and first time that the Hornets have won back-to-back championships. Meg Hill scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Mansfield, while Jen Peel scored 18 points and had six assists and Ann Maher scored 11 points. Franklin was led by freshman Ali Brigham’s 11 points and also got nine points from senior Carli Koffinke.
Taunton, 30 @ King Philip, 54 – Final – KP was led by sophomore Julia Leroux, who finished with 18 points, and classmate Shannon O’Connor, who tallied 11 points. Jess Regan was the top scorer for the Tigers with nine points.
Stoughton, 25 @ North Attleboro, 48 – Final – Caroline Collard had 13 points to lead the Rocketeers, who stay in a first place tie with Foxboro with the win. Val Whalen was the top scorer for Stoughton with 11 points.
Attleboro @ State Championships (@ Newton North) – Attleboro placed fifth overall with a score of 142.95.
Today’s games are listed below.
Mansfield, 66 @ Attleboro, 56 – Final – Mansfield erased a four point deficit in the fourth quarter, closing the game with a 14-0 run to earn the win on the road. Mansfield senior Benjamin Albanese connected on a trio of three pointers and finished with a career-high 13 points to help the Hornets. Christian Weber hit four three-pointers for a team-high 18 points while Sam Goldberg had 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Attleboro freshman Bryant Ciccio scored 14 points while senior Jake Dunkley netted 11 points.
Milford, 36 @ Canton, 46 – Final – Canton used a 20-point second quarter to build a 31-15 lead at halftime and then held the Scarlet Hawks to just six points in the final quarter to earn the win. “It’s nice to see focus and execution,” said Canton head coach Ryan Gordy. “We had a game plan coming in and what we practiced carried over into the game. When we are focused we can be a dangerous team. Milford is explosive so we new we had to defend for four quarters.” Junior Tony Harris led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 11 rebounds while classmate Jake Verille added 13 points for Canton.
Stoughton, 47 @ Foxboro, 62 – Final – Foxboro built a 10-point lead in the first quarter and held onto that lead the rest of the way. The Warriors went up 22-12 at the first and 35-22 at halftime. Foxboro used a 7-0 run to begin the fourth quarter to put the game away. Senior Jamaine Few tied a career-high with 17 points while Joe Morrison added 16 points and freshman Brandon Borde chipped in with nine points. Stoughton senior Cam Gomes had a team-high 11 points.
Taunton, 36 @ Franklin, 78 – Final – Click here for a recap of this game.
King Philip, 52 @ Oliver Ames, 63 – Final – Oliver Ames moved within a win of qualifying for the state tournament with a win over King Philip. Senior Nick Welch scored a team-high 19 points while junior Jack Spillane chipped in with 13 points for the Tigers.
Attleboro, 47 @ Mansfield, 54 – Final – Click here for a recap from this game.
Canton, 58 @ Milford, 40 – Final
Foxboro, 65 @ Stoughton, 49 – Final – Kristen Bortolotti scored 19 points to lead the Warriors, who moved a half-game in front of idle North Attleboro at the top of the Davenport division. Grace Tamulionis added 14 points and Ashley Sampson had 12 for Foxboro.
Franklin, 49 @ Taunton, 29 – Final – Bea Bondhus had a team-high 14 points for Franklin and freshman Ali Brigham added 11 as the Panthers made it three straight wins and seven wins in the last nine games.
Oliver Ames, 51 @ King Philip, 35 – Final – Oliver Ames limited the Warriors to just 12 points at halftime, rolling to a 51-35 win on the road. Kayla Raymond dropped a team-high 19 points for the Tigers while Niyera Mitchell chipped in with 10 points.
North Attleboro, 3 @ Oliver Ames, 1 – Final – Connor Ford put North Attleboro up 1-0 in the first period and Erik Clements scored his first goal of the game early in the third period to give the Rocketeers a 2-0 lead. Oliver Ames’ Eric LeBlanc cut the deficit in half midway through the final period and the Tigers had a couple of chances to tie the game with the goalie pulled, but Clements got his second of the game with an empty netter to ice the game. OA freshman goalie Owen Connor made 27 saves in his first start.
Taunton vs. Bristol Plymouth, 7:00
Franklin, 7 @ Dover-Sherborn/Hopkinton, 0 – Final
NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Beginning the season with a relatively young and inexperienced lineup, Franklin opened with six straight losses. Given time to figure out the varsity level, the kids have turned out to be alright after all.
All 11 of the players on the Franklin roster saw time on Friday night in the first game of a doubleheader at the William F. Nixon Gym and nine of those players got on the scoresheet, as the Panthers showed off their depth to beat Oliver Ames 59-48. It was the fifth straight win and sixth in the last eight games for Franklin, which is now .500 in the league and four wins from booking a playoff spot.
“It’s a tremendous difference,” said Franklin coach John Leighton about the team’s confidence over the past few weeks compared to the start of the season. “You start 0-6 with a young team then they’re going to doubt themselves. They’re going to question things. I’m so impressed by every member of the team picking each other up and that’s lifted the confidence.”
In the first meeting with the Tigers, Franklin allowed Oliver Ames to pull away late for a double digit win. On Friday, it was the Panthers that put together a strong final quarter to turn a five-point lead into an 11-point win.
Franklin scored 17 points in the fourth, 12 of those coming at the free throw line. The Panthers shot 12-of-16 from the charity stripe and all but three of its final 14 points came from the line.
Shannon Gray, who had only three points entering the final quarter, led the way by making 5-of-6 free throws, while freshman Ali Brigham (10 points, 10 rebounds) scored on a putback and senior Carli Koffinke (team-high 13 points) knocked down one of her four three-pointers to help seal the victory.
“In the fourth quarter, Shannon Gray, who had barely scored, was attacking the rim and drawing fouls and that’s what we needed,” said Leighton. “Early it was Ali dominating and Carli scoring…I love to have that balance.”
OA was shorthanded on Friday with sophomore guard Sadie Homer sidelined with a knee injury, but the Tigers came out strong and led 14-13 after one. Senior Hannah Carroll got off to a strong start with five of her 12 points in the quarter, both baskets off assists by Kayla Raymond, who added four of her team-high 15 in the first.
Koffinke kept the Panthers in it early, burying a pair of threes off assists from Bea Bondhus and Grace McDermott. Leighton said of Koffinke, “She’s worked so hard at her shot and her game. You can see that she’s worked and if she gets a couple inches then she’s going to take it and really it’s a weapon for us.”
The defense picked up in the second for Franklin, which held OA to just eight points and grabbed a six-point halftime edge. Gray (eight points) started the second with a three off the first of Izzy Faught’s three assists in the quarter. Grace Sameski knocked one down to extend the lead and then Kate Morse (10 points, five rebounds, four assists) hit another. Carroll hit a pair from beyond the arc to keep OA hanging around.
The Panthers extended the lead to as many as 10 points in the third with Morse again providing big plays. She buried an elbow jumper and then a big three that made it 40-30.
“Cool as a cucumber,” said Leighton about Morse. “Kate’s a great three-sport athlete, but she’s really come on as a basketball player this year and I’m thrilled to have her another season.”
Brigham chipped in with four in the quarter and Koffinke knocked down another three, but Franklin could not put away the Tigers. OA battled back behind senior point guard Abby Reardon, who scored seven of her nine points in the third and assisted on a Katie Flynn transition layup.
“We’ve lost several games in this scenario where we couldn’t close out,” said Leighton. “We talked about playing more of a full game. Good possessions, hold them to one shot, make your free throws, then you can play with the lead and it’s hard to beat.”
The Panthers followed that formula down the stretch and pulled out the win. It was a total team effort, which is what Leighton thinks defines this year’s team.
He explained, “One way we’ve improved over the course of the year is exactly that. We have 11 girls, they all play and the idea is to get the open girl to take the shot and really work to make sure it’s a good shot. We really worked to move the ball a lot better the last few games.”
Franklin (6-8, 6-6) will try to keep its win streak alive on Monday with a trip to Taunton. Oliver Ames (9-5, 8-4) will look to get back on track, and clinch a tournament spot, when the Tigers travel to King Philip.
The Tigers grabbed a rebound and had a chance to make it a one-possession game, but a turnover led to an and-one and on the next possession the ball swung from Lauren Flahive out to junior Lily Sykes, who drilled the fourth of her five threes on the night to push the lead back to 10 heading into the fourth.
Sykes finished with a game-high 19 points and hit half of Foxboro’s 10 three-pointers, as the Warriors pulled away in the fourth for a 51-35 victory over OA that moves the hosts within a game of division-leading North Attleboro.
“She’s another one who’s been stepping up for us pretty consistently,” said Foxboro coach Lisa Downs of Sykes. “When the pressure is on Ashley [Sampson], [Lily] is able to step up and take those shots. That’s huge for us and it opens up things for Ashley too.”
While OA did not struggle offensively to the same level as last week’s loss to Mansfield (the Tigers scored more in the first half on Thursday then they did in the entire game against the Hornets), the Foxboro full-court press and aggressive half-court defense had the Tigers off-balance.
Kayla Raymond (11 points, six rebounds) started the game with a three and Hannah Carroll knocked one down for a 6-3 lead, but the Warriors went on an 8-0 run to a lead they would never relinquish. Kristen Bortolotti (nine points) buried one of her three shots from beyond the arc to tie it, Sampson fed Sykes for her second from outside, and then Sampson (13 points, 10 rebounds) scored off a steal.
Niyera Mitchell hit a jumper and Raymond scored on a rebound putback to cut the lead to four after one, but again Foxboro put together a 10-0 run to break the game open. Sykes knocked down another three, scored on a reverse, and Bortolotti buried a three off a feed from Grace Tamulionis.
Meanwhile, the OA offense was stagnating. Sadie Homer (seven points) hit a three and Raymond got out on the break for a layup to get back into the game but the Tigers struggled to find consistent looks. Riley Collins closed out the half with a corner three to put the Warriors ahead 27-18 at halftime.
“We just couldn’t score,” said Laney Clement-Holbrook. “We made bad decisions and we just couldn’t score. We need to figure this out because we didn’t rebound…Our bread and butter is getting out to run and if you’re not willing to rebound then it’s hard to run.”
The Warriors are regularly out-rebounded and the Tigers had a significant edge in size, but Foxboro was holding its own on the boards and at times dominating the glass. Flahive came off the bench and grabbed eight boards, Tamulionis and Sykes each snagged six, and Sampson grabbed 10.
“Because we don’t have the height,” Downs explained, “we need to work our butts off inside the paint. Once we start facing the taller teams, the stronger teams, that’s going to be huge for us because we can run the ball, we play great defense but if we don’t rebound then we can’t get our offensive game going.”
Bortolotti started the second half with another three and Collins answered an Abby Reardon jumper with an offensive rebound basket. Trailing by 11 the Tigers finally started to click. Mitchell kicked out a pass to Carroll (six points) for a three and then fed Brenna Burkett for a layup before snatching an offensive rebound and going up strong for a basket.
Just when it seemed like the game might be turning towards OA, a turnover handed the ball to Sampson for a layup plus the foul. Foxboro then broke quickly off a rebound and the ball was kicked out to Sykes, who stole any momentum that the Tigers may have built with another long-range shot.
“We got it close, down to four, and then we fell asleep,” said Clement-Holbrook. “It’s been this problem all season long in terms of playing four consistent quarters and it’s just….[shrugs].”
Downs was proud of her team for withstanding the run and turning it back around. She said, “They righted the ship without me having to call a timeout. They were able to settle themselves down on the court, which is something we didn’t do against North Attleboro (in a 53-47 loss).
“Tonight, they settled themselves down and it wasn’t crazy Coach Downs over here. They were able to just relax a little bit and keep their composure.”
Foxboro extended the run to 13-0 with the first seven points of the fourth quarter to effectively put the game away. Sykes scored five more in the run, picking up the scoring for Sampson who was being pressured by Homer.
“That’s going to happen because you’re helping off of someone and they have the game of the century,” said Clement-Holbrook of Sykes. She added, “Sadie did a great job on [Ashley]. If we could have everyone playing with that kind of heart and soul then things would be different.”
Foxboro (8-2, 7-2) will play at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday against Milford, while Oliver Ames (8-4, 7-3), which is now 1-1/2 games behind Mansfield in the Kelley-Rex, will be off until Tuesday against Canton.